Two Types of Surrender in Blackjack

Since we discussed surrender as a part of your blackjack strategy this morning, I figured it might be beneficial to go over the two types of surrender that you are bound to come across: late surrender and early surrender.

The basic concept of surrender is to exit the round at the cost of half of your wager.

Late surrender is the variety that only allows you to bow out of the round after the dealer has checked to see if he has blackjack. This is the surrender variety that has the smaller impact on the house edge because the dealer is allowed to check first. And if he does have a natural blackjack, guess what—you just lost. Oh, and if he does have a natural blackjack naturally you lose your option to surrender.

Because there is still the potential that you would not be able to exit the round late surrender only knocks 0.08% off of the house edge.

Now we move on to early surrender. I do not know of a blackjack player who does not like early surrender best. Early surrender allows a blackjack player to exit the round before the dealer checks to see if they have a natural blackjack or not. By the time the dealer does check for a natural blackjack you are long gone from the round. Well, you still might be at the table, but that particular round is over for you. The dealer having a natural blackjack is a mote point for the player in this instance.

Because early surrender allows you an out regardless of whether of whether the dealer has a natural blackjack or not, it has a greater impact on the house edge: 0.6% off.

The next time that you are in a casino look for a table that allows for surrender, preferably one with early surrender although I will say it is not common to find. The important point is to use surrender in your blackjack strategy when it is to your advantage: you have a hard 15 and the dealer has a 10, or you have a hard 16 and the dealer has a 9, 10 or Ace.

A Hard Hand vs. a Dealer 9, 10 or Ace

Do you know what the best play in blackjack to make when you have a hard 15 or hard 16 versus a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace? The answer might not be exactly what you think it is.

The instances in a game of blackjack that I am talking about are when you have a hard 15 versus a dealer’s 10 or a hard 16 against a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace by the way.

Your first answer would be to stand. And in some blackjack games that would be the best statistical play to make. But in other blackjack games there is a better statistical play and it comes in two varieties: late and early surrender.

Late surrender is the more common of the two, but that is because it only hits the house edge for 0.08%. When it comes to late surrender, it is a play in which the player gives up half of his wager to exit the round only after the dealer has checked for blackjack. Players must decide to make a late surrender before they make any other plays; once a player decides to hit or stand the option to make a late surrender is gone.

The other type of surrender is early surrender. This differs from late surrender in that in an early surrender the player can give up half of their wager before the dealer checks for blackjack. Early surrender allows the player to get out of that particular round even if the dealer does have a natural blackjack. And because that aspect early surrender lowers the house edge by 0.6%. And that 0.6% hit is why early surrender is seen less often in blackjack games.

But surrender should only be used in blackjack if you have a hard 15 against a dealer’s 10 or a hard 16 against a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace. Those are the four best times to surrender since a blackjack player’s chances of winning are the lowest then.

If you can find a game that allows for late surrender go for it, and if you can find a game of blackjack that allows for early surrender—even better!

House Rules for New PA Tables

Part of the fun of getting new blackjack tables in Pennsylvania is waiting to see what the house is going to set their rules at: are they going to screw me or are they going to be decent and give me a fair shot at winning?

Thankfully the Pennsylvania blackjack tables have been set with some pretty decent house rules. How good? The Pennsylvania blackjack tables will have more player-friendly house rules than two thirds of the tables in Vegas.

So what is in store for players at these blackjack tables?

For starters I am pleased to say that they will be paying 3-2 for natural blackjack. There will be none of that 6-5 stuff in Pennsylvania!

Another good rule: dealers will have to stand on soft 17s. So that is 0.22% that the house will not have.

Double downs will not be limited to only hard 10s or hard 11s. Any two cards can be doubled down on.

Also having to do with double downs, players will be allowed to double down after splitting a pair.

And to top off all of those player friendly house rules blackjack players will be allowed to make late surrenders. So make sure you have a basic strategy chart that tells you when to surrender. This way you will only lose half of your wager rather than all of it.

In total these house rules will result in a house edge of less than 0.4% for those who use basic strategy—and who stick to basic strategy.

It seems that Pennsylvania might evolve into a new blackjack destination with rules like these. Who knows, we just might have the new in place to play blackjack at.

European Blackjack vs. Blackjack

For the most part blackjack is a pretty standard casino game. There are not a lot of ways to vary blackjack. And that is probably why most of the blackjack variations you run across in online casinos and in brick and mortar casinos are based on side bets, while the actual game is played the same as always.

However. There are a small number of blackjack variations which are true variations, meaning that some rules are different. European Blackjack is one such variation.

European Blackjack is not a variation based on a side bet. There are two rules in this game that make it different than regular blackjack. And these differences in rules are not to the player’s advantage either.

First off players can only double down when the first two cards total 9, 10 or 11 in European Blackjack. Because double downs are highly advantageous to players, this rule does impact a player’s blackjack odds. When a player can double down on any hand it increases the player’s blackjack odds by 0.23%. But when players are limited to only doubling down on 9, 10 and 11 it takes 0.09% off of the player’s odds.

Next up in the differences between European Blackjack is that there is no surrender. Surrender is bowing out of the hand at the cost of half your wager. It is used when your chances of losing the round are very high; so rather than losing your entire wager, you only lose half your wager.

Late surrender gives players an added 0.08% to their blackjack odds, while early surrender takes 0.6% off of the house edge. In European Blackjack, players lose that added 0.08% and the house is not hit with that 0.6%. So not having the option to surrender hurts the player’s blackjack odds. Again.

And those two are the two biggest hits against a player’s blackjack odds. Overall the house gets to add 0.62% to its edge thanks to all the house favorable rules.

I would only recommend playing European Blackjack only for low stakes or for a break from regular blackjack. But I do not like that 0.62% added to the house edge, especially for regular playing. If you want to play European something in the casino or in an online casino stick with European Roulette.

Early Surrender vs. Late Surrender

I love blackjack. It has the thrill that gambling offers yet it’s a game of skill. There are only two games of skill to be found among casino games: blackjack and poker. And between the two, blackjack is the better one.

Some would say that poker is better because you have an out in poker: folding.

But blackjack has a lesser known yet better option: surrender.

In poker, folding means giving up your entire wager. In blackjack, surrender means that you are only losing half of your wager rather than all of it. And that alone already gives blackjack a leg up on poker.

But surrender isn’t limited to one form; there are, in fact, two forms: early surrender and late surrender.

Late surrender is the more widely found form. It allows a player to exit the round, but only after the dealer has checked for blackjack. So regardless of whatever the dealer has, as long as it isn’t a natural blackjack, the player can give up half of their wager and leave the round, which is preferable to losing the entire wager.

Late surrender can actually impact the house edge. Played properly, which means according to basic strategy, it can knock 0.08% off of the house edge.

Early surrender is the other form. This one is the more advantageous one, which is why it’s less commonly found in casinos. In early surrender a blackjack player can surrender their hand before the dealer checks to see if he has a natural blackjack. And even if he does have a natural blackjack, the player can still exit the round, unlike late surrender.

Because early surrender allows players out even if the dealer has a natural blackjack it the more advantageous of the two forms of surrender. It also impacts the house edge harder: 0.6% is taken off of the house edge. And that is why early surrender is found less often.

But these house edge impacts are only effective when surrender is done at the most advantageous times. Those times can be found on a basic strategy chart. But just to recount them they are you have a hard 16 versus a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace, and a hard 15 against a dealer’s 10.

Why We Love Late Surrender

Surrender is an incredible play for blackjack players. It’s better than folding in poker. When you fold in poker you lose all of your wager. But for blackjack players who surrender, they can get out of a round that doesn’t look like it’s going to have a good outcome and only lose half of their wager. And that is why surrender is one of the most awesome plays that a blackjack player can make.

But late surrender is better than early surrender. The difference is that early surrender only allows you to exit before the dealer checks his hole card to see if he has blackjack.

In late surrender a player can still surrender after the dealer has check for blackjack; and even if the dealer does have blackjack, you can still leave the round only leaving half of your wager behind.

This comes in handy when you have a stiff hand like a hard 16 and the dealer has a 10 showing. So he checks and doesn’t have blackjack, but he still has that 10 showing. If you check your basic strategy chart you will see that when you have a hard 16 and the dealer has a 10 showing that the best recommended play is to surrender.

So surrender. You exit the round with only half of your wager lost rather than the more likely outcome of all your wager lost to the house.

So what does late surrender do to the house edge since it’s so player friendly?

Having the ability to exit a round of blackjack in which you know you’ve got a better chance of losing than winning will lower the house edge by 0.08%.

But for late surrender to be thoroughly effective you need to play it according to basic strategy. This means only surrendering when it advises you to do so and not to use it as an easy-out when you do not like the cards you have been dealt. Using late surrender as an easy-out can actually reverse the impact on the house edge because you’ll be losing more money over time rather than winning more.

So take advantage of late surrender when you find yourself at a blackjack table that allows for it. But only use it when basic strategy advises you to.

Player Advantages in Blackjack—Surrender

Yes, I have another one!

But come on, why shouldn’t I point out the advantages that players have in blackjack?

While payouts, splitting pairs and doubling down can be done both in blackjack online and off, surrender isn’t always available online. It might take you some hunting before you find an online blackjack game that lets you.

But on to surrender.

Surrender is an option that’s kind of like folding in poker. In poker a player can look at his cards and decide to give up his wager and quit the round without having to bet anymore money.

Surrender is like this but better. That’s right, I said better.

When a player surrenders in blackjack he is only giving up half of his wager. So if you wagered $50 and were dealt a couple of cards that you just can’t really do anything with, you can choose to give up $25 and quit the round.

There are two types of surrender: early and late.

Early surrender is when you surrender before the dealer checks to see if he has a natural blackjack. This version allows players to quit the round even if the dealer has blackjack.

Late surrender the player can only surrender after the dealer has checked to see if he has blackjack. The downside is that if the dealer has blackjack, the player is stuck.

It isn’t often that a smart time comes along to surrender. It’s best to do so when basic strategy advises you to. Most basic strategy charts will say that the best times to surrender is when you have a hard 15 versus a dealer’s 10; and when you have a hard 16 versus a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace. Those are the only time you want to surrender because it’s going to be hard to beat a dealer with those up cards when you have a stiff hand.

Surrender is a player advantage because it allows the player out of the game when the dealer can’t leave the game. He has to stay and play. This is because blackjack is a player versus the dealer type game. The dealer cannot quit the game because without him there is no game.

So even if the player dealt a natural blackjack in a face up game the dealer just has to stand back and lose.

Player Favorable Blackjack Rules—Part VI

After a bit of a break we’re now going to return to the player favorable blackjack rules.

Have you ever been in a game and the round hasn’t played out the way you would have liked it to? You just wish that you could’ve backed out of the round somehow.

If you were playing in a game that allows for late surrender then you could have.

Late surrender allows you to quit the round after seeing the dealer’s hole card for the cost of half of your wager. Let’s say you had bet $20 and then decided to make a late surrender. You would only lose $10 rather than the whole $20.

The only time you can’t make a late surrender is if the dealer turns out to have a natural blackjack. Automatic loss then.

But late surrender can come in handy for the approximate 43% of the time that you are dealt a stiff hand. If you’re dealt a stiff hand, make your play, and then feel that you don’t have a decent shot at winning after the dealer’s hole card is revealed, you can still surrender. This comes in handy with stiff hands because you tend lose more of those hands than win. Late surrender will help to minimalize your losses in those cases.

And because of that advantage you have in being able to bow out of the round, the house edge is lowered by 0.08%. But you must play it correctly. And that means abiding by basic strategy.

A good basic strategy chart will tell you when to surrender if the option is available. Most charts will tell you that the best time to surrender is when you have a hard 15 and are facing a dealer up card of 10. The other best times to make a late surrender is when you have a hard sixteen and the dealer’s up card is a 9, 10 or an Ace.

Keep an eye open for Player Favorable Blackjack Rules–Part VII